A little bit of every potential Japanese trading-whatever fad is bundled into Bakugan: Defenders of the Core, and it’s apparent from the moment you start playing: the over-hyped music, the over-enunciated English dubs, the over-balanced battles… really everything is just hyper. That’s why you get what you pay for, and coming from the television show and manga series, it’s definitely enough to give fans something to enjoy, even if it’s not for everyone.
Regardless of how the shows operate (something to do with marbles shaped like beasts and using cards to get them from point A to B), Defenders of the Core takes the fight outside with giant dragon-on-whatever action. Combining attacks with either light or heavy taps, dashes to and, and even some Ability Cards that represent a Bakugan’s ultra attack gives a fairly respectable amount of freedom in the battle grounds. Which is nice, considering you’ll have to use those skills pretty wildly to take on your foes: the Vexos.
Setting up your own personal character, you head into a world that’s yours-but-not-really. Starting right from the get-go, the evil Vexos have stopped series hero’s from battling with a giant Vexos Crystal, leaving you the only one left to defend each respect area. When one of the characters, Mira, is taken as a hostage, you head across the continent in search of the Vexos, picking up other characters, their Bakugan, and other little tidbits along the way.
While each level and section is split up between continents, you’ll also have to trek to each specific point of interest on foot, which is possibly the downfall of the game. Traversing the level, you’re given little pointers on a mini-map that show where money, people, and guards are. If you’re caught by one of the Vexos men without any help, immediately it’s a game over. And that’s a shame, since you wouldn’t be able to pick up all of the fancy things like new Ability Cards, Trophies, or money to help your battling career.
By the time you sneak your way from point A to B – which could take all of ten minutes, depending on the difficulty of the level and the stationary camera – you’ll instigate a battle against this opponent, that Vexos Crystal, or a combination of the two. Thankfully, to help you out on some of the more time consuming battles, you can upgrade your Bakugan’s abilities and stats, along with building holograms on the stage to get a stat boost for your fighter (or hurt your enemies by putting up something they don’t like). It’s an interesting concept and it works nice, but it becomes repetitive and old fast.
This really turns out to be the biggest complaint about the game: it’s can get boring. Even with the addition of a multiplayer for 2 v. 2 or 4 v. 4 fighting, unless you’re a fan of the series you may find that this is just too mind-numbingly monotonous. The only real fun is beating the crap out of big monsters, and even then that only happens half the time. Still, it’s a game that for its fans will be welcomed and even enjoyed until the next installment. After all, as they kept reminding me in the game “you will always have the heart of a Bakugan Brawler.”
ZoKnowsGaming can give Bakugan: Defenders of the Core a 6.5 out of 10, because even for all thing the things done right, it’s really still for the ‘core’ demographic.